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Bread Refresher

Bread Refresher

Fresh produce sends our kitchen into chaos as we shop by eye rather than recipe, creating an edible backlog, bread included. In our house, the constant flow of fresh bread quickly becomes a steady supply of stale loaves and so, we wanted to explore outlets for your days-old Persephone stash.

A March article in Bon Appetit inspired much of our stale musings, but we also tapped insights from other food writers like Rachel Kelly at The Guardian.

To begin, Bon Appetit advises washing a stale loaf in water, then baking it at 350°F for a few minutes. This gets rid of the rock-hard consistency, making the loaf easier to slice and tear.

  1. Bready breakfasts:  Our sweet tooth sends French Toast to the top of the list for alt-bread applications (with Cinnamon toast a close second), but a bunch of egg-based options also appeal like Casse-croûte, quiche, strata and even homemade replicas of our Croque Madame. For all of these savory breakfasts, refresh bread by drizzling chicken or vegetable stock over the slice in a skillet.
  2. Bruschetta: The classic finds bread grilled, rubbed in garlic, drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes and herbs. Once you’ve refreshed your stale loaf, dive into the dizzying array of bruschetta variations (thank you Bon Appetit for this incredible roundup of all things toast-like).
  3. Breadcrumbs: Make a batch and freeze it for future use in a bevy of recipes including meatballs, meatloaf, veggie burgers, Romesco sauce, baked fish and as a mac and cheese topper. So simple yet so special (try this sassy version).
  4. Croutons: Elevate a salad with hand-torn croutons, rustic chunks tossed in olive oil and herbs and finished (when still warm) with shredded Parm or pecorino.
  5. Bread soups: From French Onion to Tuscan Ribollita, bread chunks help thicken rustic soups, serving as crusty platforms for vegetables and cheese.
  6. Bread salads: Colorful with summer produce, Panzanella is the primo Italian vehicle for stale loaves, which when doused in olive oil and balsamic vinegar become sponges for all that savory goodness. A quick and easy summer staple.
  7. Roast chicken: Rest your whole chicken on a bed of stale bread. When the bird emerges, the bread will have soaked up all of the delicious drippings.
  8. Stuffing/Dressing: In the same vein, dress up poultry any old day, instead of only on holidays.
  9. Bread pudding: Classic bread puddings are a perfect outlet for our rustic loaves, but our Persephone recipe cheats a bit by using our chocolate croissants and cinnamon brioche (Dishing featured our dessert version).
  10. Stuffed shellfish: While this could have fallen under both 3 or 8, we swoon stuffed shellfish so much in the summer, we had to devote an entire category to the lovely morsels. Saveur offered two no-brainer recipes for Italian stuffed clams and stuffed oysters.

Did we miss your favorite avenue for stale bread? If so, let us know by commenting.